I can't trust my baby (or body), and I don't want her to wean now (I wanted that to be the title but it's too long).
Please give me some support/advice/analysis, whatever. I sincerely thank you. I think my post sounds crazy.
I'm nursing my 22MO, and, believe it or not, I've never nursed on demand in the true sense of the phrase, except for the first 2 months. Since then I've always offered to nurse her very frequently during the day, and once or twice at night (when she stirs or wakes up). There are lots of reasons for this and I could write pages, but to be short:
- I want to continue to give her breast milk into her 3rd year, especially when we have lots of (overseas) moving/traveling ahead and are looking to start her in a nursery school in a few months.
- She's a small, skinny (though healthy) LO and isn't eating a lot either. She is (or at least was) sensitive to dairy so our diet is still free of those (except I've been trying yogurt with good result.)
- Her personality.
She is NOT a breast/nursing addict. She doesn't like working hard for food, doesn't really demand. As a newborn (with suckling problems as we later found out) she would just suck at the letdowns and comfort suck in between them, so feedings would go on for an hour and my supply (very good at first) still dipped big time and she lost weight. When my supply was already low, even though she must have been hungry she would just fall asleep at the breast when not getting any milk, NOT trying to suck to get the milk out if any was there.
When I have a bad plugged duct, she almost NEVER helps me suck it out because milk wouldn't be flowing well then.
When teething or meeting a milestone, or when sick, she has always had the tendency to decrease/refuse nursing, instead of nursing MORE as I've always heard nurslings do.
She doesn't nurse when having bumped her head or the like.
If you would let her play, she'd forget all about eating or drinking or sleeping. I have had to work really hard to establish and keep her on an eating/nursing/napping/sleeping routine to make sure she does all those.
- The first year of nursing we dealt with reflux, suckling problems, tanked supply. I had to work HARD for several weeks to save our BF. Because of that I put her on a schedule (meaning not waiting for her to demand - because she didn't demand enough to grow) and I have never regained the confidence to let go of it. The second year is even WORSE with terrible persistent, recurrent plugged ducts (which posted several times about) and hormone-related low supply to help which I started taking domperidone. I've also been dairy- and soy-free the whole time because of her blood-streaked stools when I ate those. Because I've been through so much nursing her, our BF relationship seems so precarious. I truly feel like if I don't work hard - if I just relax - she will give up nursing way too soon. I don't want that to happen (for reasons said above).
So, on to my question. These days she is becoming less and less interested in nursing. I've always put her to the breast as frequently as I can because I stay home with her. These days she doesn't always take it. Yesterday she even forwent nursing to sleep, during the night, and this morning upon waking up, which have been our "sacred" sessions. I know that must sound normal to youl ladies who have always nursed on demand, but it really freaks me out. The thing is, I don't want her to wean now, and frequently as I nurse her and even pump, my supply is still not very good (I'm still on domp and drink 3-4 cups of Mother's Milk Tea/day), so I *feel* like if she decreased her nursing frequency/amount, I would produce even less, and - given her personality (as described above) would lose interest altogether.
If the mess above makes any sense at all...
I really need help. I keep reading about moms who nurses on demand and nurses well into the 3rd or even 4th year. I want to do the same - letting my toddler lead our BF relationship. But I really feel like I can't, no matter how much I tell myself to let go and relax. I keep fearing all the above.
If I ditched the pump, and stopped stressing out about my supply and her intake and nursing frequency - in other words, let her lead the dance (if I can bring myself to see it as a dance in the first place...), would I stop producing/have even lower supply so she'd wean??